Putting together the perfect cricket team and squad isn’t just about having the highest quality cricket equipment and clothing. The best teams need to be fit both mentally and physically in order to compete consistently at the top of their game. Whether this is at an amateur level or professionally and internationally there are a few fitness tips that cricketers and cricket teams can take on board to fully prepare for the gruelling season ahead.
Improve Your Core – Especially for fast bowlers it is important to have a strong core and one way to build a strong foundation is to build up your abdominal muscles through the use of medicine balls. Medicine balls can be thrown between two people during a session, from seated throws to overhead and a myriad other variations. Medicine ball sessions should have a lot of variation within it to work on various muscle groups and to build up overall strength of each cricketer.
Intense Sprints and Recovery – Fitness levels have to be improved as early as possible before the cricket season begins and one way to do that is to have intense sprinting and recovery sessions. Individuals sprint for 40m back and forth between two markers 20m apart. A bleep test, or yo-yo-session ensures that sprints continue to increase in speed and intensity as the runners are expected to hit their marks along with the sounding beeps, which continue to get closer in frequency. In between each sprint there should be a 10-15 second recovery period. This exercise helps to build mental strength as well as agility and acceleration.
Build Flexible Muscle Power – Both batsmen and bowlers need to increase their power, being able to bowl Yorkers and return the fastest of deliveries. There are different sets of activities for bowlers and batsmen, with batsmen looking to increase their agility and balance by performing exercises where they are jumping, hopping and sprinting as part of ladder work. For bowlers there is a requirement to jump before each bowling sprint so you could focus on jumping over small hurdles and perfecting the landing of your feet to improve on the technical aspect of your run up.
Leg Power! – Whether you are bowling or batting the power generated mostly comes from your legs. Learning how to create the perfect stance for these conditions is important. Performing plenty of squats might seem repetitive but it really does help build up leg muscles. A squat improves the power levels in your hamstrings, quads, glutes and helps to improve your overall stability and balance.
Non-Cricket Recovery Sessions – Warm downs and other exercises should form the overall fitness plans of any cricketer, or sportsperson of any kind actually. Whether it’s a light job or a regular swimming session it is important to stay active without overexerting your body. A strong base fitness will help as the cricket season starts to go through the gears into mid-summer.